I look down and see the scorching red glow below me. My heart starts to race as I peer around for an escape route for my partner and me. Straight ahead we find our solace, I turn to my sister with sweat running down my brow, and ask her, “Are you with me?” Her eyes carry bravery and determination as she nods her head, and we take the leap not knowing what our outcome will be but praying that our feet will find safety.
My childhood is filled with these imaginary excursions between my sister and me. Memories that swirl and delight as I watch my children construct their stories of bravery and valiance.
Messes give me anxiety. When my house looks and feels as if a bomb has gone off my mood turns sour. I become irritable and mean. I don’t mean to do it. I grew up being tidy, and it has been something that I have had to work on over the years. But as I walked down this morning from my slumber and was fully expecting my children to be sitting in front of the TV as it was silent, I was greeted with the innocence of who they are. There they were underneath a pile of couch cushions and blankets giggling. My mama’s heart leaped with gladness, and I realized they need more of this, heck, I need more of this.
Here a few things you can do to encourage imagination in your littles and home.
Let them Be Bored
Parents we need our kids to be bored. We need to give them empty space to let their minds go to a place where they can create and imagine a new world around them. If they complain, let them. Keep your calm and tell them that it is up to them to create fun. What I have found is that they will complain for about 10 minutes, but if I just ignore them they end up finding something to do, and the next thing I hear is them working together to create some sort of game or fort.
Budget some money to add a few items that are for imagination purposes only. Head to Value Village and get a bunch of second-hand pillows, sheets, books, and flashlights. If you have a tickle trunk of sorts, you can also hit up thrift stores for some used dress up clothes (right after Halloween is best for this).
You don’t need A LOT just a few items. If you are worried about the organization, get a bin and stick it all in together and let your kids know that they can use this for fort building, dress up, etc. That way they aren’t taking sheets that may be from the house, and it is all in one place for them to grab. Easy peasy lemon squeezy right?
Let it Go
This is for all the moms like me that get a little on edge with a messy house. Just let it go. Give them the time to create and at the end work together to clean up. Sometimes this can be easier said than done kind of like pulling teeth when it comes to clean up, am I right? What I have found at the age my children are (6,5 & 3) is that if they have help from mama or dada, they are more than willing to work together to tidy up.
Lego is another excellent way to them to build and create. We look for sales to stock up and ask the grandparents for it as well for holidays and birthdays. This past Christmas, my mom, was able to snatch up a 1500 pack of Lego for $40!
There are many other ways to create imagination like, dance, music, art and the outdoors. The warmer months are great to have them play outside and build a fort with the elements around or make “soups” out of the dirt, grass and flowers. Just make sure to have the conversation about which plants are safe to touch. We tell them to avoid mushrooms altogether, and they are only for looking at and observing.
What are some of the ways you create imagination in your home?